Sustainable mobility and what it means for Africa

sustainable mobility - cleanbuild

Sustainable mobility and what it means for Africa

The world is faced with a number of environmental challenges, one of them being mobility and this is largely attributed to CO2 emissions from vehicles.

Over 50% of the world’s population lives in cities and as people move from rural areas to cities, heavy demand is placed on existing transport systems.

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), transport accounts for 24% of direct CO2 emissions from fuel combustion, with cars, trucks, buses, and two/three-wheelers accounting for almost three-quarters of transport emissions while emissions from aviation and maritime transport continue to increase.

All these emissions leave an indelible mark on the environment, especially on air quality, and will continue to contribute to catastrophic climate change if more sustainable mobility options are not developed or explored.

That is why sustainable mobility is important because it advocates environment-friendly transportation and meets the needs of people.

Sustainable mobility requires a shift from the status quo in transportation to other modes like bicycle, electric vehicles, car-sharing, and rail freight.

Cities in other continents around the world are already rising to the challenge and creating solutions that do not only ensure the movement of people, goods, and services but also mitigate climate change and create climate-safe environments.

Africa needs to catch up with the trend and expand access to sustainable mobility modes as high levels of pollution continue to plague the continent due to second-hand vehicles. The increase in car ownership has led to long commuting times and traffic congestion leading to poor health because of the fumes concentration at such locations.

For transportation to be sustainable, the continent must promote zero-emission vehicles as well as focus on clean fuels, electricity from renewable sources, and innovative mobility.

To achieve this, plans that aim to promote the use of electric vehicles and installing recharging points for these types of vehicles will be essential.

In addition, automated mobility and traffic management systems will make transport more efficient and less polluting especially for systems that predict traffic jams.

Africa still has a long way to go in order to achieve sustainable mobility but it is well on the path to achieving that goal.

African cities need sustainable mobility systems that are capable of transporting increasing numbers of people while doing the least possible harm to the natural environment and the good thing is that some African governments have started taking action by implementing regulations on vehicle importation to limit pollution.

Some have also started offering appealing financial incentives to automotive companies for them to increase domestic production of new vehicles.

Bottom line

Some African cities are already constrained by their limited ability to plan and the lack of long-term strategies. Coupled with that, most of these cities do not have a well-developed central authority to deal with urban mobility and transport challenges. Rather, the responsibility is dumped on multiple entities, resulting in neglect or confusion.

Therefore, governments and other state actors must work together to create a central environmentally and financially sustainable urban transport system to ensure an emission-free Africa.

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